Dedicated with all my love to Cielo, and her mother, Elena.
If you were turning one, oh, I’d do anything for you!
(One year old baby, (Cielo) rubbernecking to better look at reader.)
Give you a ride on a water buffalo!
(Baby on huge water buffalo’s back)
Cross a dragon with a bus!
(Dragon with round windows in its side, and a fold-out door. Baby in one of the windows.)
Give you a wombat, if I could!
(Wombat, deadpan, wearing racing goggles and red-with-star stunt helmet and rollerskates)
Take you running with the emus…
(Dad, with chest harness, and baby, running with mob of emus.)
Teach you to fly.
(Baby, arms wide, flying.)
Make sure you had the bestest, weirdest friends!
(Three very differently shaped monsters, an explorer and fairy, around baby, who is playing with one of the monster’s toes.)
Go on adventures.
(Dad and baby in wooden rowboat, as mermaid and merman (and few flying fish) leaping out of water, over the boat.)
Get the moon to tell you goodnight stories.
(Dad in hammock, baby sitting on his belly, they are both looking at HUGE rising full moon. The face in it is talking.)
Take you to hang out with unicorns.
Ask a dozen birds to sing you a happy birthday tune.
(Birds on solid tree branch behind baby, singing, including a pterodactyl, kookaburra, wedge-tail eagle, blue chested wren, stalk, white cocky, toucan, rooster,)
If I could…!
(Dad in worker’s reflector gear, sweaty, holding full shovel, looking dreamingly into space. Baby playing with gravel beneath him.)
If you were turning one, I’d write you one story
for a year
(Dad at small desk, lamp on, hunched and typing, still in work gear.)
So that you might grow up with imagination and love in your heart.
(Baby reaching, with wonder, for tiny dinosaurs with bird wings)
I’d teach you about stories.
(Dad, sitting in grass, back to us, talking to baby, that is looking up at him. Behind baby is a wall of story characters. A dragons breathing letters that fall to the ground, saying “Happy B-day” giants, monsters, a boy in loud op shop close and tartan pants, a gothic girl with the moon for a balloon, a boy with electricity coming off his head, a monkey, a half-ape half-hippo, an emu and wombat in a milk crate, the sun with spindly arms and legs. etc…)
How to follow them through.
(Baby chewing on black-and-red writing book.)
Your Mum would gift you colour and noise.
(Baby laughing as it swipes at piñata shaped like the number 1. Other babies about, music, food, happiness.)
If you were turning one, I’d take us down to a waterhole,
(Mum and Dad walking down track, baby in harness, they have to bend to get through leaves and limbs.)
in the rainforest,
(Three of them standing on edge of a spectacular, rocky waterhole, small fall above it, thick rainforest towering over it.)
just the three of us,
as if I was giving you the world.
(Three of them in the water, playing, Dad tossing baby upwards, trail of water coming off baby, as Mum splashes them.)
We’d make every day an adventure, just like this one,
(Mum looking out as Dad and crawling baby make for mangrove-and-island peppered cove)
as often as we could.
(Dad, in sweaty work gear, lying spreadeagled in scratchy grass, helmet beside him, smiling up at Mum who is holding smiling baby over/towards him, work ute in background, door open.)